MONROVIA: The Ministry of Labour Workers’ Representatives, and management of ArcelorMittal Liberia have been engaged in discussions to address the ongoing strike action that has brought AML operations to a halt at the company’s Operations sites in Nimba and Grand Bassa Counties.
In light of the current situation, the Ministry of Labor has issued a directive, calling for an immediate end to the strike actions and the prompt return to work by all employees of AML.
The Ministry’s directive is also in line with the Liberia National Labor Court’s order for an immediate end to the strike by the workers’ union of ArcelorMittal Liberia and a Stay Order, instructing all parties to return to Satus Quo Ante, pending the determination of the matter.
The strike actions that took place simultaneously at the 2 operations sites on Wednesday, May 10, 2023, ArcelorMittal Liberia were initiated by the employees when they informed the Ministry. They said the strike stems from concerns over salary disparities and the need for salary increments.
While the demands of the workers are acknowledged, it is essential to find a mutually beneficial resolution that takes into account the interests of both the employees and the management.
Recognizing the right of workers to voice their grievances and the importance of fair compensation, Liberia Labour Minister Cllr. Charles H. Gibson has been actively involved in mediating negotiations between the workers and management.
Minister Gibson has, however, reminded the workers’ union that any strike or industrial action must be in accordance with the Decent Work Act and the laws of Liberia.
In early December of 2022, the government of Liberia through the Ministry of Labour met with the Management of ArcelorMittal Liberia and the workers represented by their mother Union, the United Workers Union of Liberia UWUL to resolve the concerns of the workers that have been standing for over two years.
Labor Minister facilitated the discussions to ensure that all parties have an opportunity to express their concerns and find common ground to avoid future occurrences.
The management of ArcelorMittal Liberia is fully aware of the issues raised by the employees and acknowledges the importance of addressing them.
However, the company has stated that it faces financial challenges that limit its ability to implement immediate salary increments.
They have committed to engaging in further discussions and exploring potential solutions to the existing disparities
The government of Liberia through the Ministry of Labor encourages the employees at ArcelorMittal Liberia to return to work as a sign of good faith and commitment to finding a resolution. By resuming work, the employees can ensure the continuity of operations, protect jobs, and contribute to the economic growth of Liberia.
According to Minister Gibson, the Ministry of Labour remains committed to facilitating a fair and transparent negotiation process. He noted that the ministry will continue to engage with both the workers and the management to ensure all concerns are adequately addressed. The labor minister further explained that the government of Liberia is dedicated to upholding the rights of the workers while also supporting a conducive business environment to promote growth and development.
After an intense meeting between the Management of ArcelorMittal Liberia and the workers’ representatives on Thursday, May 11, 2023, at the Ministry of Labor in Monrovia, Minister Gibson calls for an immediate end to the strike action and urges the employees of ArcelorMittal Liberia to return to work.
In line with His Honor, Joseph M. Kollie, Resident Judge of the National Labor Court who also ordered the return and release of all ArcelorMittal assets including keys to equipment seized by the workers’ union within the next twenty-four hours. The National Labor Court Stay Order was issued on Friday, May 12, 2023.
Minister Gibson further said that, the government of Liberia is confident that through open dialogue and collaboration, a satisfactory resolution can be reached to address the concerns raised by the workers. He emphasizes the importance of fair compensation while considering the financial constraints faced by the company while emphasizing the need for togetherness. Stating the Ministry of Labour, workers, and management can work towards a mutually beneficial agreement that will safeguard the interests of ArcelorMittal Liberia employees, their management, and the government of Liberia.